Although he hung in there for 12 rounds against Russian slugger Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, Bernard Hopkins showed his age and lost a unanimous decision and his two light-heavyweight belts to Kovalev before 8,545 fans at Boardwalk Hall,
Hopkins, 49, simply didn’t have what it takes to defeat the 31-year-old knockout machine. But despite a quick first-round knockdown, Hopkins hung around for 12 rounds with Kovalev, who had never fought more than eight rounds in his career.
Kovalev landed 31 punches on Hopkins in the 12th round
Hopkins fought gamely in the final then stuck his tongue out at Kovalev, who seemed angered by the action and went after Hopkins with a vengeance, landing shot after shot to the head of Hopkins, who has never been stopped. And referee David Fields didn’t stop it.
Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KOs), caught Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs) with a counter overhand right in the first round and dropped Hopkins.
Hopkins did what he could to avoid the power of Kovalev, moving warily around the ring as Kovalev pursued the legendary Philadelphia.
In the third round, Hopkins pushed Kovalev to the canvas, There was no knockdown, but Kovalev then pursued Hopkins, jumping on Hopkins time and again on the ropes and landing flurry after flurry.
After he landed some counterpunches in the seventh round, the crowd began chanting, BHop, BHop.
In the eighth round, Kovalev threw an overhand right that made Hopkins knees buckle, but he stayed on his feet.
Hopkins entered the ring wearing his green alien mask. The crowd chants USA-USA.
Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs), holds most of boxing’s age-related records, having become the sport’s oldest major champion in 2011 when he defeated Canadian Jean Pascal at age 46, breaking George Foreman’s record, which had stood since 1994.
It was almost 20 years ago to the day that Foreman stunned the world by knocking out undefeated heavyweight champion Michael Moorer on Nov. 5, 1994 at the age of 45.
Hopkins has since shredded that record. He also became the oldest to unify titles when he defeated Beibut Shumenov by unanimous decision in April in Washington, D.C. Hopkins had not fought since that fight before Saturday’s unification bout.
Known as one of the smartest fighters of his era, which actually spans two eras (26 years), Hopkins said before the fight, “I’m going to show you how dumb (Kovalev) is and how smart I am. It has nothing to do with reading, nothing to do with spelling. He might be smarter than me in both of those. But when he gets in that ring, you’re going to see a Ph.D and a GED.”
In the end, It might have been Kovalev with the Ph.D.
Kovalev, 31, a native of Russia now living in Florida with his family, including son, Aleksandr, who was born last month. Kovalev came into the fight undefeated, having knocked out 22 of the 25 fighters he faced, including the last 13 in a row. In his most recent fight, Kovalev was dropped by a flash knockdown in the first round against Blake Caparello, then came back with a vengeance,